Climate Justice

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.”

-United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report

Human activity, such as burning fossil fuels for home heating, transportation and various industrial activities including mining, manufacturing and large-scale farming, is the primary cause of global climate change. Historically, this activity and the resulting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been the responsibility of the global North, or the wealthy, industrialized nations.

Yet the burden of climate change –extreme weather events, drought, flooding, crop failures, destroyed fisheries and loss of habitat and homeland– is being disproportionately borne by poor and marginalized communities of the global South, peoples who are the least responsible for the changes we are seeing in the world today.

Climate change is thus more than a question of environmental sustainability; it is a question of justice. KAIROS believes that climate justice involves making real reductions in carbon emissions as well as addressing the social and economic inequities between the rich and the poor—both of these are inextricably linked.

Resources from KAIROS

Popular Movements Meet with Pope Francis

Judith Marshal and Pope Francis

KAIROS colleague Judith Marshall shares experiences from a meeting of social movements with Pope Francis.

We Are All Water-Keepers


The KAIROS group in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan has been looking at its watershed these past few years, and has released this report looking at the threats posed to it. Agri-business, the commodification of water, urban water demands and the use of water all pose threats to this highly stressed watershed.

I don’t have words to describe what I saw.

Delegates in front of the smelter in Oroya

On a tour of two of the world’s most contaminated mining communities, a delegation of women activists from across Latin America realize that while their stories may differ, what unites them is their work defending communities and Mother Earth.

Tribunal at Peoples’ Summit calls for a UN Declaration on the Rights of Nature


The Tribunal on the Rights of Nature at the Peoples’ Summit on COP20 in Lima has no legal authority beyond the integrity and respect generated from its process and participants, but the hope is that by revealing the impacts of violating nature’s rights, including climate change, these rights eventually will be enshrined at the national and international level.

Anti-mining activist killed and Ecuadorean partners harassed on eve of Lima meetings

Ecuador Youth Caravan Soldiers

What was supposed to be a celebratory launch for KAIROS partner Acción Ecológica’s delegation to the People’s Summit and COP20 meeting in Lima, Peru turned into a nightmare as delegation members were detained and harassed and news came in of the killing of community leader and anti-mining activist.

Stay Awake: Reflection for Advent 1 by Jennifer Henry


Jennifer Henry explains why our faith demands that, while we acknowledge the woes of present injustice, we must stay awake for the hope of justice brought about by the vulnerable Advent Hope that entered our world.

People’s Climate March Spurs Hope for Climate Justice: Policy Briefing Paper #40

Desmond Tutu

The latest KAIROS Briefing Paper contrasts the hopeful movement for climate justice symbolized by the People’s Climate March with the slow process of official UN negotiations. It exposes hidden dangers in certain measures that claim to address climate change, and highlights proposals from Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu that point towards genuine solutions.

Pull Together with Indigenous Nations Challenging the Flawed Review Process for the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Pull Together

Join in solidarity with eight First Nations from British Columbia who have been granted leave by the federal Court of Appeal to apply for a judicial review of the government’s decision to allow the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Given the landmark decision by the Supreme Court last June in the case that affirmed the Aboriginal title and rights of the Tsilhqot’in nation, the courts will be hard pressed not to recognize an infringement of Indigenous rights.

Momentum builds to make Canada Open for Justice

Open For Justice - small

Since the Open for Justice Campaign launched a year ago, 90,000 Canadians have taken action in support of Canadian mining accountability overseas, and there have been more than 65 meetings with Members of Parliament in ridings across the country.

This groundswell of citizen support is making an impact.

Indigenous Wisdom: Living in Harmony with Mother Earth – Policy Briefing Paper #39

BP 39 Ecological Footprint

This summary of our longer study on how the ancestral wisdom of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas can guide us as we face unprecedented challenges from climate change and related ecological crises is now available as a Briefing Paper.

The paper explores Andean peoples’ teachings on how to live well in harmony with the natural world and what Canadians can learn from these teachings.